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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: What gear would an 1860 Californio carry with him? 0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: What gear would an 1860 Californio carry with him?  (Read 58982 times)
WaddWatsonEllis
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Howdy, Pardner! Sacramento, Ca here ....


« on: September 08, 2009, 09:10:56 pm »


I have been asked if I might be interested in doing some docent work here in Sacramento...

I understand that a Californio circa 1860 would probably be carrying a C&B pistol in a holster, a big Bowie on the other side .... but what else? I have thought of a leather Civil War era shot pouch on worn on the back of the belt, but were powder horns still common? Or would our man be carrying a copper powder flask?

And would that flask be on a shoulder strap or somehow attached to the belt?

I guess what I am asking for is some help from you history and reenactment buffs ....

Help!!


* Powder Flasks.jpg (20.08 KB, 333x350 - viewed 514 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2009, 09:33:47 pm »

Howdy Pard!
 I remember wandering around the old fort in Sacramento and also Old Sacramento; the fort was a bit earlier, like 1830s-40s and earlier, if I recall, while Old Sacramento played up their Pony Express heritage (1860). Are you looking at being a docent for one of these?

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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2009, 10:45:39 pm »

It is looking like I might be giving walking tours in Old Sacramento ..... but at Sutter's Fort, due to its much earlier emphasis, I would think that the weapons would be C&B musket-pistols and muzzle loading rifles ....
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2009, 10:54:32 pm »

Take a look at the Time-Life series 'The Old West'.

You'll see a number of good photos of folks from that era and locale.

What you'll carry is what your Impression would have - so work on exactly what you wish to portray.

Your weapons would definitely be cap and ball, though exactly 'what' they might be will depend largely upon what you decide to be, though if you're portraying an actual 'Californio', you need to be looking at a heavy Spanish influence in dress.

Talk to the folks who want to put you to work, and see what their ideas are.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!

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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2009, 11:07:21 pm »

St George,

My thoughts exactly ... I was aiming at one of the aristocratic Vaqueros or perhaps a Norte Americano who had accepted the Californio way of life ...

Time-Life Series 'The Old West' ... I'll have to see if the library can get it for me .....

I am thinking a Ruger Old Army would, to the average tourist, look for all practical purposes like a 1858 Remington. It was a copromise to get the best theatrical effect wed with the best of modern mettalurgy and a gun that can sit in a holster for a long time and be charged and shot with mimimum maintenance ....

I have a pair of pants and vest that matches, and they are making me a leather lined Vaquero jacket that will match the vest and pants ....


* Vaquero Pants.jpg (5.35 KB, 250x187 - viewed 587 times.)

* Vaquero Vest.jpg (29.9 KB, 169x216 - viewed 472 times.)

* Vaquero Jacket.jpg (42.15 KB, 366x500 - viewed 587 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2009, 11:30:19 pm »

I'd give thought to dropping the idea of the Ruger 'Old Army', since it's an amalgam of several revolvers and a replica of none.

Look for a Colt 1851 Navy, instead, as they were highly popular - especially in California.

Carry it in a nicely-carved Slim Jim, and don't worry about a flask or anything similar for 'in-town' use - and you don't need a large Bowie, when a smaller Dirk was equally popular.

You might want a nice single-shot Derringer - and Dixie has a couple of very nice ones that'll work well.

You'll be amazed at how many folks actually 'do' know something about the Old West and what was used, and folks who go to these things are already historically interested - otherwise, they'd find something better to be doing with their time.

If you're going to portray someone from the era - you owe it to the viewing public to make your Impression as accurate as possible.

For local color and such, you can even use a sash, and a 'good' sombrero as well - but finding a 'good' one can be difficult.

As to the Time-Life series - the local Public Library probably already has it, since it's been available for years.

Good luck!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!






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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2009, 11:57:36 pm »

The pistols are purchased now, so there is no going back for the time being .....Ruger Old Army it will be ... but in a slim jim crossdraw holster from Will Ghormley.

And one never knows ... I might get a deal I just can't resist next spring and 'have' to buy that 1851 Navy ... although if I was going to get a pistol without a topstrap, I would rather have a Walker.

I already own an 1863 Remington Pocket Pistol converted to .32 S&W cartridge ... it will have to take the place of a derringer .... for right now at least .... again, a bit of an anachronism, but until I find that ultimate deal on that Dixie Derringer, it will have to do.

Again, the big Bowie I already own ... although I think it is going to be fitted with an antelope antler handle ....

I will do my best to be historically accurate .... and since all this is coming out of my very fixed (retired) budget and is a volunteer position, I will always be caught between being the best that I can be at the best that I can afford ....

Hat; in Old Sacramento itself we have a reenactment clothing shop called Sacramento Dry Goods .... and they have a palmetto planters cap in there that I will probably use ... not exactly a sombrero, but there are paintings of Sutter wearing Vaquero clothes and just such a hat .....


* Planter's Hat.jpg (2.67 KB, 100x61 - viewed 2557 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 04:45:22 am »

I'm with St. George

"You'll be amazed at how many folks actually 'do' know something about the Old West and what was used, and folks who go to these things are already historically interested - otherwise, they'd find something better to be doing with their time.

If you're going to portray someone from the era - you owe it to the viewing public to make your Impression as accurate as possible."

Skip the Ruger, in your impression ( save them as your SASS shooters ) and just a carry the knife so long as it's period . As for the Walker, contrary to Lonesome Dove a Walker was not a belt pistol. However, the 51 Navy was and many more were produced.
Another choice , would be a 49 baby Dragoon.
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2009, 09:22:23 am »

The Bowie fits into the era - as does your proposed hat and clothing - and you can make it more 'Californio' by adding more decoration, should you find something.

As to an affordable Navy Colt, or Model 1849 - look at pawn shops and gun shows where the dealers cater to 'Black Guns'.

They often have BP revolvers that came in as trades, and in most places, used BP guns are a drag on the market, so the dealers will usually be pretty happy to get rid of them.

Do look for a steel-framed one - the brass frames aren't right, they're just cheap.

Ebay has a myriad of good-quality holsters for sale, as well - and you can save money by carefully reviewing from time to time.

Walkers and Dragoons were 'Horse Pistols' and were carried in pommel holsters -  the TV series  'Lonesome Dove'  and 'Desperado' notwithstanding - they were too heavy for normal belt use.

Good Luck!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!



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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2009, 10:18:07 am »

Well, as much as the Rugers are maligned for the historical anachronisms, they are already bought and fait accompli.

I will look around for a .36 cal Navy Colt; I just don't like .36 Cal weapons ... the round and weapon may have been possible, but as it was proven after the Boxer Rebellion (much later in history, I know), the round is just not that powerful. After the Marines held out in Beiping and were rescued by the Expeditionary Force, they found several officers with expended .36 Caliber Colts in their hands and a Boxers knife in their body. The Boxer may have been killed by the little .36 Caliber, but they lived long enough to kill the Colt's Owner.

By the way, for anyone interested in the Boxer Rebellion, here is a Wikipedia site for it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Rebellion

There was also a fairly good movie about the Marines in the American Garrison called '55 Days at Peking' .... Dramatized and 'Hollywooded' for sure, but still a good movie.

It was this discovery that caused the beginnings, under Col. Thompson, of the .45 Caliber ACP; designed to be a 'one round knockdown'; to stop someone in their tracks, even if the round only hit the person in a limb.

Of course, I am sure that I will be reminded that Wild Bill Hickock and others seemed to do quite nicely with their .36 Caliber revolvers ... and I will look for one in the coming year and put it in a slim jim holster .... just would rather be carrying something in the .42-.45 Caliber range.

But my main reason for starting this thread had nothing to do with weapons. I was wondering about wether a powder horn and something like a possibles pouch would still be carried (to hold extra balls and powder, money, etc). And I have gotten my answer that no, a Californio not far from home would have relied on the five rounds inside his pistol and not carried any more.

I want to thank every person who has helped me by giving his opinion on this, and will add to this when I get more info... for instance, add a pic when the Vaquero jacket has been picked up.....

Thanks again!
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2009, 10:39:11 am »



I will look around for a .36 cal Navy Colt; I just don't like .36 Cal weapons ... the round and weapon may have been possible, but as it was proven after the Boxer Rebellion (much later in history, I know), the round is just not that powerful. After the Marines held out in Beiping and were rescued by the Expeditionary Force, they found several officers with expended .36 Caliber Colts in their hands and a Boxers knife in their body. The Boxer may have been killed by the little .36 Caliber, but they lived long enough to kill the Colt's Owner.

It was this discovery that caused the beginnings, under Col. Thompson, of the .45 Caliber ACP; designed to be a 'one round knockdown'; to stop someone in their tracks, even if the round only hit the person in a limb.

Of course, I am sure that I will be reminded that Wild Bill Hickock and others seemed to do quite nicely with their .36 Caliber revolvers ... and I will look for one in the coming year and put it in a slim jim holster .... just would rather be carrying something in the .42-.45 Caliber range.

But my main reason for starting this thread had nothing to do with weapons. I was wondering about wether a powder horn and something like a possibles pouch would still be carried (to hold extra balls and powder, money, etc). And I have gotten my answer that no, a Californio not far from home would have relied on the five rounds inside his pistol and not carried any more.

Thanks again!

While your observations on the Boxer Rebellion (as well as the Phillipine Insurrection) and the lack of effectiveness of .36/.38 calilber revolvers may be correct, suffice to say there really wasn't a "convenient" carry handgun in the 1860s that could fill the bill.  General Thompson and his Trench Sweeper was still 60 years in the offing and the .45 ACP cartridge was only about 9 years ahead of that (not to mention the advent of Smokeless Powder).

So the most available options, ca 1860 out in California would have probably have been that beautifully balanced and sleek '51 Colt or else the most common revolver to make it out to the gold fields, the 1849 Colt Pocket Pistol.

If you really need authority in the way of a handgun for that period it's most likely going to be one of the versions of a Colt's Dragoon, but good luck with carrying that around all day.

Certainly a smallish Dixon's Powder Flask may have been employed and a clever leather Flask Holder could be fashioned to carry on your belt. 

But in actual practice, if a reload were needed, I'm thinking that a person might have carried a small tin in a pocket with some paper cartridges, common at that time, along with some spare caps.
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2009, 11:09:03 am »

No - the 'Boxer Rebellion' happened in 1899 - by that time, no army was using cap and ball, but had been using cartridge weapons for a couple of decades.

What you're thinking of is the 'Moro Insurrection' that ran from 1903-1913, when the Army was issued the weak Colt .38 DA, - the Models 1892-1903 chambered for .38 Long Colt - that were having trouble stopping the religiously fanatical Moro tribesmen - the 'Juramentados'.

It was 'that' conflict that caused the old .45 Colt Single Action Armys to be taken from storage and re-issued to fight in the Philippines, and would eventually lead to the adoption of the M1905 that was already being considered, and would develop into the Model 1911.

During the pre-Civil War time frame you wish to portray as a historical Impression - the Navy Colts were much-prized weapons in California and in the gold fields, and brough considerably greater sums when they could be found and purchased.

For a better idea of what the .36 could do - read 'Sixguns' by Keith, and you'll be surprised.

For more on the Moros - read  'Muddy Glory - American Indian Wars in the Philippines' by Roth.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 11:41:20 am »

St George ...

Thank you for correcting me on the wars ... I was just spewing what I had been taught ... and as Voltaire once said, 'History is the lies historians agree upon'.

I had the only copy of 'Sixguns' by Keith in the entire California Library System, but had to return it unread because his autobiography was so interesting that I did not want to speed read it, and got behind on my reading....

I do not like being ignorant about history, so I will get the Library to order Roth's book on the Phillipine insurrection and hope that I do not get so engrossed that it ends up to be another literary 'boondoggle' ....
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

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« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 01:35:24 pm »

Take a look at Will Ghormleys web site. He has been doing some history writes about wandering the west as authentic era
it is interesting.
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2009, 02:39:54 pm »

Ask the Librarian about getting a couple of 'Inter-Library Loans'.

The Librarian locate your requested books, and if you'll pay the shipping, you can usually keep them for three weeks to a month.

That way, if a copy of something's 'out there' in the rest of CONUS - you can eventually read it.

Not all require shipping reimbursement, either - some will ship for free.

Good Luck!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!



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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2009, 05:56:15 pm »

Curley Cole,

Will Ghormley made the holsters for my Schofields ... and I am probably going to get a slim jim from him for reenactment.

I have read his adventures, and wish I had a wife that would support me to do things like that ... *S*

He is a very important yardstick for me and I have benefitted so much from having him in my life ....

St George,

They have a thing here in California called the Link system where I can search any book in the entire California Library System.
That is where I found Keith's autobiography and his Sixguns book.

I had to turn in the Sixguns 'cause I am taking much too long reading his autobiography ... it is one of those books I really hate to finish and cherish a chapter or two at a time.

After the autobiography, perhaps I will order the Sixguns again...



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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2009, 07:05:04 pm »

Lots of single shot and double barrel percussion pistols, as wells as a lot of pepperboxes all in calibers from about .28 to .45.  Don't sell them short.  At 'social discussion' distances they worked pretty well and beat a knife at ten paces ten ways from Sunday...usually.
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2009, 07:16:32 pm »

Forty Rod,

I have that little converted 1863 Remington Pocket Pistol.

Anachronistic, I know, but it will have to do until I find a really cheap replacement ....

Besides, when it is sitting in a holster, all that will show is the hammer and top of the strap....


* .32 Caliber Remington Conversion.jpg (10.58 KB, 250x187 - viewed 526 times.)

* 1863 Remington Conversion and Schofield Pg 1.JPG (57.3 KB, 396x528 - viewed 491 times.)
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2009, 01:51:26 pm »

I think that you need to be much more specific in your impression goals here.  To begin with, what class of Californio do you want to do?  There are not many period pictures of Claifornios.  By the time cameras made it to California, the Californio life style was under a great deal of pressure.  There are paintings of Californios but they are of the highest class of society. 

For example, below is a photograph of General Don Andres Pico (brother to Pio Pico, last Californio Governor of California) who was one of the few Californios to do very well during the American period, he became wealthy ranching and farming.  Notice that all of his clothing is dark, black and dark blue were popular.  The clothing is a variation on the Traje de Charro, which derives from the traditional horseman's clothing of Slamanca, Spain.  The traditional clothing is brown but in Mexico and California a fancier "dress" version of this clothing, known as the Gran Gala Treje de Charro, became popular among the elite (later Emperor Maximilian would adopt it as his state clothing).  This version of the clothing has given rise to the traje de mariachi, the black or sometimes bright colored suit worn by mariachi bands.  One note, in the period, bright colors were not commonly seen, if they were used at all.  The dress suits tended to be black or blue.

  Anyway, you will notice that General Pico's jacket, which is heavily decorated with embroidery of bullion, is well fitted with relatively thin, long arms and a standing collar (indicating that this is actually a military dress jacket).   He is wearing a vest, a white shirt and a tie under the jacket.  More distinctive are the pants, which like the jacket are heavily decorated with embroidery and held together along the outside by a series of buttons, commonly of silver.  Note that they are unbuttoned up to the mid thigh showing his white underpants.  Interestingly the inside if the thighs are of a different color.  This could be a riding seat (a reenforcement of that part of the pants which come in contact with the saddle) but it is impossible to know what color it is.  This style was very popular in California at the time though this is obviously a very high status individual.

Below Pico is a painting of Don Jose Sepulveda (who owned one of the most famous ranchos near Los Angeles) painted in 1856.  Although the suit he wears is much plainer then General Pico's, it is essentially the same.  One difference is that the coat does not have a standing collar.  You can clearly see the buttons along the leg and a flash of the white drawers.  Also note his hat, known as a "sugar loaf" this style of hat was the most common type seen on Californios.  The key thing is the shape of the crown which got its name because of its similarity in shape to the cones of sugar in use at the time.  The size of the brim varies greatly over time and due to taste but the sugar loaf is the distinctive hat of Californios of all classes.  Note also that Don Jose is not wearing a gun.  Californios were much more likely to use a lance or the sword which is visible attached to the saddle in the painting.  This sword, was a common feature of Californio saddles and you will still see a short sword or machette on many modern built Mexican saddles.  While in military service a Californio might wear a sword belt ,but in peace the sword was on the saddle. 

Although these photographs are of high status individuals, the basic cut of their clothing would translate to lower class individuals.  Instead of dark clothing a working class charro would wear a sort of tan or sometimes light gray.  Charro clothing was first adopted by the working class in Mexico in the 1600s when peons were given the right to ride horses.  In many ways it has not changed much as the actual charros are very traditional and resent others wearing or modifying charro clothing (they hate mariachi bands).  The basics of working class clothing would be a jacket and pants like that worn by Don Sepulveda with several additions.  One would be a pari of  botas de alas, seen below.  Spanish for "winged boots" they are short coverings for the lower leg which act like chaps.  Another thing might be a sash in place of a vest. The sash provides a distinctive flash of color and is cooler than a vest.  You can also stick a pistol and a knife in the sash.  If you were to wear holsters you should have a straight up and down slim jim or what they call a bikini holster (which holds the cylinder but does not cover the barrel).  For some reason the bikini style was popular among hispanic peoples.  Take a look at the last painting for an example, Essentially the same clothing as Don Sepulveda in brown, a pair of botas de alas, a sugar loaf hat, no vest, large california spurs, also notice that he is not wearing a gun.

  On the topic of knives and pistols, the 1851 Colt Navy was the gun of California in mid 1850s and early 1860s.  The 1849 pocket model and Allen pepperbox revolvers were earlier, obviously, but once the 1851 came out it was very common in California.  Depending on which program you are doing in Old Sacramento, the authenticity people will not let you carry a ruger, and frankly you shouldn't do it even if they did.  Bowie knives are an American phenomenon and you would not find them on a Californio.  Why would they want one, they have their own style of knives which is much more Eropean.   Think European stiletto, thin, double sided and relatively long.

  I spent a number of years working as a living historian at Sutter's Fort and we have been through all of this.  if you would like more detailed information go to Sutter's Fort and ask them for the docents costume guidelines.  It is not absolutely perfect but it is a good start to clothing during the Sutter period (which ends in about 1850) and does include some information on Vaquero clothing. 

Hope this helps


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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2009, 05:36:20 pm »

Excellent post, Roscoe!

This era isn't as well drawn out as are the trail driving years and the era of the Indian Wars - though they're equally significant to the history of the Old West.

'Doing it right' takes on an even greater importance, since it's a time so seldom photographed.

Mucha Gracias!

Vaya,

Scouts Out!


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Howdy, Pardner! Sacramento, Ca here ....


« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2009, 06:03:45 pm »

Roscoe Coles and St George,

First, thanks for the excellent posts ... I am not drawing much information here ... as far as Historical drawings, I was actually going through the costumes of Sutter's Fort at the McKinley Library ....

And for the first clothing that I wear, it will have to be the 'walnut' clored Vaquero Jacket and a pair of matching pants and vest ... or perhaps a scarf.

I agree that the Remington 1858 (which the Ruger Old Armies are based on) did not come out in any amount to California until after the Civil War .... and if I can find a Model 1851 that I can afford, it will be in the slim jim holster I already have on order. I have three months to find such a pistol at a price that I can afford .... let's all hope that one comes down the pike.

The Calzoneras are a different thing entirely.

First, I would have to either find a source for such pants, or find a tailor capable of making both them and the long-legged drawers that went underneath them. Again, I will have to search them out ... I have not had much luck on the internet.

So, as they used to say, I am in a state of 'rigid flexibility' here ...
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2009, 06:22:36 pm »

All of what Roscoe Coles and St. George said above, plus...

First that is pretty nifty, portraying the Californiano culture. I'd love to do it but not a big call for it in Michigan Cry

I am not clear on who you are. Maybe you have not decided yet. Are you an Anglo or Hispanic? Are you a land owner or a Vaquero?

Remember the period if your year is 1860 or thereabout. Anglo's and the Hispanic culture were not mixing well. Anglo's were grabbing land, business and the political structure, Hispanic property owners were losing out. Neither one was a Vaquero. You can portray a Vaquero, but that would have been a poor cow herder many times Indian or of mixed blood. The Gentry were not Vaquero's for the most part. Think Charro if you are portraying the Gentry.

If you are portraying a Anglo look to what was being worn back east. If you are portraying a Hispanic look not to what the average Mexican was wearing, but to what the more pure blooded Spaniard in Mexico was wearing or if you can find them pictures of Californios - they exist in common books we all look at but they are few.

As you probably are aware, there is a profound difference between the cattle culture of Texas and and what eventually evolved into the "buckaroo" culture. Saddles, roping technique, ropes, dress, horsemanship, spurs, etc. If you are going to represent this to the public you need to know it all.

I suggest you start by doing some reading before you step into an instructors role, and I believe a good place to start is by purchasing David Dary's Cowboy Culture, University of Kansas Press. Start with page 44, the Californio culture. But then read the entire book so that you can articulate the difference. It is fascinating.

Once you know, what it is you are portraying - look for images from about the same time and look like them. I'd stay away from the traditional SASS suppliers and the Wah Maker stuff, good for that crowd but not reenacting. There are other sources, but most importantly you can make your own with some effort and that will give a superior result.

Ah yes, the guns. I think we have had this discussion elsewhere. I got it. You already have Rugers. And you are right, many probably can't tell the difference. The same could probably be said if you carried a S&W military and police (not being mean, that is just the way it is with the public). However, you know it and I guarantee there will be a few others that do and that will form in their mind what they think about the rest of what you are telling them - if they stick around to listen. Ask yourself, do I even need to carry a weapon in 1860 for what I am doing? Unless you are Joaquin Marietta, perhaps not. There is so much more to history than a few shoot-outs you may not need them. I guarantee that a roping exhibition with a reatta would impress me alot more about your knowledge base than a few gun shots.

But if guns are a must..., I get the fact that at a great distance a Ruger might be confused with a Rem NMA. But you put your year at 1860. There were very, very few old models, transition models, or NMA's available at all in that year (it is my opinion that the public in the far west did not have great access to them until after the war). Despite the repro reference to 1858 the repro mimics a gun that wasn't around until 1863 or so. Consider what others have said above, I have seen pictures of Californio's from your time period with Dragoons, 1851 Colts and pepperboxes - but I can not recall one from that period using a Rem NMA. Really consider the use of your Rugers before approaching the public. If you need to do a shoot out put them on for that, consider not wearing them other than that.

And that brings up holsters...., Will Gromley makes some cool looking stuff for sure (whatever you do don't get any of the nickel spotted stuff). But please consider Old West Reproductions. Most cowboy holster guy's use leather that does not seem to mimic what was used during the period. Rick Bachman seems to get it right. A floral slim jim straight hang holster (forget the canted stuff, I have only one reference for one of those and it was made by a military saddler) on the off side would be dandy for the gentry. A poor vaquero would have probably worn a simple leather contraption at his side (something you can make) or stuck the gun in a sash or his pants.

Meant no harm - hope nothing has offended you. But many of us on these boards feel we have a deep responsibility to get it right when addressing the public. If I did you any favors - get that book by Dary!!!!
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WaddWatsonEllis
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Howdy, Pardner! Sacramento, Ca here ....


« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2009, 06:41:22 pm »

Although quite a dilletante, I am a history buff.

And I can understand how there were people feeling trampled on ... whose ancesters had trampled on the indigent indians to get the land that the Californios felt they were being cheated out of....

I am learning so much that I am unsure on which side I will end up ... a dandy Californio or an early Norte Americano immigrant who buys what the stores carry   ... probably  a hybrid of both, since I imagine that I will be representing both. I already have a vaquero jacket, vest and pants that is kind of a hybrid .... in a tan/walnut ... no source for calzoneras yet ... and don't know how the general public would react to them ... we will see.

I have found a heck of a deal on a '51 Colt reproduction. If this comes though, I promise to all who have so admonished me that I will leave the Rugers for SASS matches and reenactments and carry the '51 Colt, perhaps in a sash at first ....

The Bowie again will have to do until I find something else that I can afford .... remember, I am retired and this docent position is volunteer. One thing that will help is that I plan to change the grip to Antelope horn round, and possibly have the brass pommel nut re-lathed to a more period appropriate shape...

And as soon as I get it all together I promise to take a shot and let you guys make the decisions ....
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My moniker is my great grandfather's name. He served with the 2nd Florida Mounted Regiment in the Civil War. Afterward, he came home, packed his wife into a wagon, and was one of the first NorteAmericanos on the Frio River southwest of San Antonio ..... Kinda where present day Dilley is ...

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." John Wayne
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« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2009, 06:45:13 pm »

"I have found a heck of a deal on a '51 Colt reproduction. If this comes though, I promise to all who have so admonished me that I will leave the Rugers for SASS matches and reenactments and carry the '51 Colt, perhaps in a sash at first "

GOOD on you  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2009, 06:51:37 pm »

If you think the gun was expensive wait until you start searching for the 6 ply reatta and Sonora spurs!  Shocked Cheesy Grin

Glad you are considering the pistol.
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